Repairs You Can Print: A Turn Signal Switch For A Chevy Corvair

Running a classic car is often an easier prospect than a more recent model, as the mechanical parts have a tendency towards commonality between models, simplicity, and maintenance using basic tools. However assuming some level of parts availability for your model it is not usually the running gear that causes headaches. Instead, it is the smaller and less durable parts, the little plastic pieces that formed vital components but have not been manufactured for decades. These are the parts for which the advent of accessible 3D printing has been a revelation, suddenly the owner of a wreck need only to have basic CAD skills to deliver the goods.

A Chevy Corvair (not [Ken]'s one). Greg Gjerdingen [CC BY 2.0].
A Chevy Corvair like [Ken’s]. Greg Gjerdingen [CC BY 2.0].
[Ken] has a ’63 Chevy Corvair, an attractively-styled motor notable for its rear-engined layout and air-cooled engine. And it seems his car is plagued by the same issue as all other early models, a failure of its turn signal mechanism. The version fitted to later cars is a vastly superior replacement, but required some modification to fit his ’63 model. Even after modifcation, the updated part had a plastic component that was too long for his steering wheel. Would he grind down the later part to fit, or go with a later wheel? No, he turned to Google Sketchup, and 3D printed a replacement of the correct size. He does admit that it’s not perfect as the signals cancel at a slightly different point from where they should, but since he’s been using it for four years it appears to have done the job.

We wish [Ken] every success with his Corvair, and indeed can’t help envying him a little for owning it. Some of us have been known to dabble in older metal, too.

This is an entry in Hackaday’s

Repairs You Can Print contest

The twenty best projects will receive $100 in Tindie credit, and for the best projects by a Student or Organization, we’ve got two brand-new Prusa i3 MK3 printers. With a printer like that, you’ll be breaking stuff around the house just to have an excuse to make replacement parts.


14 thoughts on “Repairs You Can Print: A Turn Signal Switch For A Chevy Corvair

  1. Oh the joy of finding that a layer of rust has swollen from steel and split the plastic.
    Was there a chemical incompatibility in the 1960~1970’s that corroded the steel?
    Or did the plastic just adsorb so much humidity that it rusted the steel?
    Wear of coatings from contact with mating parts and/or lubes just didn’t account for all of the rust formation issues.

      1. I have a 64 corvair 700 4 Dr, automatic transmission, factory air, complete car, no title, car does not run,min rust,great project. needs a good home. Let me know if you are interested

  2. I was thinking of 3D printing one for a 70’s Buick (Saginaw steering column), but you can get those for cheap from anywhere. So i found no reason to spend that much time 3D modeling it. It’s also way more complicated than the Corvair one. But this is a good example of the stuff you can use hobby 3D printing for.

    A really nice car, and from what i can see, looks to be in great condition, although seems to have some quite visible off theme additions.

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